4 Nutrients You Might Not Be Getting Enough Of (And How to Add More)

This post is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for appropriate medical advice. If you have any health concerns, please consult your doctor. 

Most of us know that we need to eat a balanced diet in order to stay healthy. However, even when we try to eat a wide variety of healthy foods, there are certain nutrients that we may not be getting enough of. 

There are many essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function properly, and some are easier to consume in sufficient quantities than others. A deficiency of any key nutrient can lead to a range of health problems. 

In today’s post, we'll take a look at some of the nutrients that you might not be getting enough of, and how you can add more of them to your diet.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is crucial for strong bones, as it helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus, both of which play a critical role in building bone. Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to a higher risk of autoimmune diseases, as well as to an increased risk of certain cancers including breast and prostate cancer. Vitamin D may also help boost the immune system and reduce the risk of contracting various diseases and infections. 

Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine vitamin" because the body produces it when the skin is exposed to sunlight. However, many people don't get enough sun exposure to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D, especially in colder climates and during the winter months.

To ward off the risk of vitamin D deficiency, you can incorporate more foods that are naturally rich in this vitamin into your diet. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna are great sources. You can also get vitamin D from fortified foods, such as milk, orange juice, and cereal. 

Despite your best efforts, it can be difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone, which is why many people may need to take a vitamin D supplement. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D for adults is 600 IU per day for adults aged 19-70, and 800 IU for adults over 70 according to Harvard Health.


Magnesium is an essential mineral that is involved in many important bodily functions, including muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, bone, and DNA. It may also help to fend off numerous health conditions; according to Medical News Today, sufficient magnesium can help to prevent or treat chronic diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and migraine.

To add more magnesium to your diet, foods such as leafy green vegetables (like spinach and kale) as well as nuts and seeds including almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds are all great additions. Whole grains such as brown rice are also good sources of magnesium.

Some people may have trouble getting enough magnesium from their diet alone, though this is relatively rare. In these cases, a magnesium supplement may be necessary. It's important to talk to your doctor before taking a magnesium supplement, as too much magnesium can cause diarrhea, nausea, and other unpleasant side effects. 

The recommended daily intake of magnesium for adults is 400-420 mg daily for men and 310-320 mg for women, according to Harvard Health. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding will need a slightly higher intake. 


Calcium is a mineral that is essential for strong bones and teeth, as well as for proper muscle and nerve function. It also plays a role in blood clotting. Calcium deficiency can lead to a condition called rickets in children, which affects bone development, and osteomalacia or osteoporosis in later life.

While dairy products such as milk and yogurt are often associated with calcium (and they are great sources!), there are many other ways you can also incorporate this mineral into your diet. Leafy green vegetables, fortified plant-based milks such as soy and almond milk, tofu, almonds, and certain types of fish such as salmon and sardines are also great sources of calcium. 

It's important to note that calcium absorption can be affected by other factors, such as the amount of vitamin D in your diet. Certain medications can interfere with calcium absorption, too. The recommended daily intake of calcium for most adults is 1000-1200mg per day, and taking more than 2000mg is not recommended as this can lead to other health problems. 


Iron is a mineral that is essential for the production of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. Iron is also important for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails, and for proper immune function. 

Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world, and can lead to health problems including fatigue, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. 

Iron-rich foods include lean red meat, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, and leafy green vegetables. Pairing iron-rich foods with sources of vitamin C has also been shown to promote iron absorption. 

Iron supplements may also be necessary in certain cases. Eexcessive iron intake can be harmful, though, so always check with your doctor first. According to Harvard Health, the recommended daily intake of iron is around 8mg daily for men, 18mg for women, and 27mg during pregnancy. 

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